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IMF: No Progress in Bailout Talks with Greece


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, right, shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a round table meeting at the EU-CELAC summit in Brussels on Wednesday, June 10, 2015.

The International Monetary Fund is reporting no progress between Greece and its European creditors on a deal needed to unlock another $8.2 billion in bailout funding ahead of a June 30 deadline.

An IMF spokesman said Thursday, "There are still major differences between us in most key areas." He spoke hours after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met in Brussels with the leaders of Germany and France, the two largest contributor countries to the Athens bailout.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel later told reporters that "each day counts." She also said she saw a new readiness from Greece to work with the IMF and two other key lenders, the European Union and the European Central Bank, to avert a looming default.

The creditors want Greece to commit to new economic reforms before releasing further funding. But Athens has so far balked at austerity measures demanded by the Europeans in exchange for the cash.

Standard & Poor's credit rating agency said Wednesday that Greece would most likely default on its commercial debt within a year without a deal. It then downgraded Greece's credit rating one notch further into junk territory. Without a deal, Greece could also be forced out of the eurozone, abandoning its use of the common euro currency.

EU President Donald Tusk said a June 18 meeting in Luxembourg of finance ministers from 19 eurozone countries would be crucial in determining whether international creditors release further funds to Athens. Without the funds, analysts say, Greece will most likely default on a $1.8 billion payment due to the IMF on June 30.

Tusk, a former Polish premier, criticized Greek strategy in the debt talks, saying, "There is no more time for gambling. The day is coming, I'm afraid, that someone says the game is over."

In a separate development, a Greek state television network that was shut down under austerity measures aired its first broadcast in two years Thursday.

News anchors at Greece's ERT were visibly emotional as they began their broadcast two years to the day after they had gone off the air and transferred programming to the Internet.